When to Give Supplementary Feed

29 May 2014

NUTRITION - When to give supplementary feed?

In all cases of supplementary feeding, the expected gain in production and reproduction is significantly greater where natural grazing conditions are sub-optimal. This should be taken into account when calculating cost:benefit ratios for individual animals and flocks.

In general, the potential requirement for supplementary feeding programmes can be summarised as follows:

  1. Flush feeding: 2 weeks before breeding and the first 3 weeks during breeding season.
  • Two-tooth ewes should be given priority
  • In cases are of marginal benefit, feed well for a shorter period, not less for longer
  1. Pregnancy: from day 90 of pregnancy
  • Separate ewes with twin pregnancies to focus more attention on the high producers in the flock
  • Important even in reasonably good grazing conditions
  • These ewes need two to three times more energy than “dry” ewes
  1. Lactation: The first 6 weeks of lactation
  • Energy and protein need to be supplemented
  • The ewe’s energy requirements are at their highest level
  1. 4.       Weaned kids:
  • ‘Creep feed’ prior to weaning so kids are adapted to feed
  • Weaning to first mating or when 27kg bodyweight reached

By paying close attention to the nutritional requirements of ewes and kids in these key phases and giving appropriate supplementary nutrition, the risk of abortion, stillbirth and weak lambs may be reduced and the kidding percentage, health, growth rate and mohair production of the kids optimised. Careful and thorough calculations of the cost:benefit ratios should always take into account the lifetime production potential of the ewe which is at stake.

The productivity and profit from the Angora goat flock may therefore be maximised.

 

Dr Mackie Hobson

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